Newlyweds Deciding on One Checking Account or Two

Have you recently gotten married? When you get married, it’s important for you and your spouse to decide whether or not you want to combine your finances into one, two, or even three checking accounts. Many couples find that having a discussion about money with their future spouse while they are engaged helps smooth the transition of their independent financial styles into a style that works for both partners once they are married. If you didn't discuss your financial goals and styles with your partner while you were engaged, it's a good idea to have that discussion as soon as possible. 

Whether you decide to have separate checking and savings accounts or joint accounts really depends upon your personal styles and whether you think your styles are different enough to require separate finances. If you are a spender and your spouse is a saver (or the opposite), having separate savings and checking accounts is a good way to help prevent arguments about where your money goes.

Separate checking accounts


With separate checking accounts, each of you is responsible for your own personal bills and spending, and your spending money stays separate. While you may have an overall family budget, you’ll also need to each have a personal budget.

When you have separate checking accounts, you have a few options for combined expenses such as mortgage payments and utilities. Either you can split these expenses evenly, each take responsibility for separate charges, or open a third “house” account that you each fund with an agreed upon amount.

Joint checking accounts 

When you decide to combine your finances into one joint checking account, communication is key. Work together to develop your family budget and designate one person as the family CFO. While the family CFO is ultimately responsible for maintaining the accounts, paying bills, and doing routine upkeep, both of you are responsible for family spending. Routinely revisit your budget and spending plans together to make sure that you are both on track with your goals. When life changes occur, including raises, changes in jobs, and children, prepare to reevaluate and make changes to your budget.

Regardless of whether you choose a joint account or separate checking accounts, you should still revisit that decision as well as your financial goals on a regular basis. After several years of marriage, you may find that your method isn’t working anymore and, if that’s a case, you should consider a change.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.